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Rescue Icebreaker Slowed By Weather; Four Americans Released In Libya; Emergency Jobless Benefits End Today; More Heavy Rain For The Southeast; Target: Hackers Did Steal PIN Data; Duck Dynasty" Star Suspension Lifted; Colorado Pot Sales Legal in 2014; Hate Crime Charge in "Knockout" Assault; Flu Season Kicks into Gear; Colorado Pot Sales Become Legal in 2014; Top Ten Entertainment Stories of 2013

Aired December 28, 2013 - 08:00   ET


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN ANCHOR: A short time ago, we got this message from the deck of the stranded Russian ship.


CHRIS TURNEY, EXPEDITION LEADER: It's the 28th of December, 2013. The weather is closed in. We have snow falling. It is not too windy. Fortunately, the weather forecast has the conditions continuing for the next few days. It is our fourth day trapped on the ship. We thought it was important to let families to know everyone is OK.


FEYERICK: Our Randy Kaye has a lot more on the trapped Russian vessel and why it is not going anywhere at least not for another day or two.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just made it to Antarctica.

RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The team of 74 researchers and crews sent out the ship. Their expedition getting off to a great start.

TURNEY: It's half past midnight. We are past some fantastic looking boats.

KAYE: Led by Professor Chris Turney from the University of New South Wales in Australia, they were looking forward to spending Christmas studying climate change in Antarctica and retracing the steps of the great Antarctic explorer, Douglas Mossyn who lived and study life on the barring continent between 1911 and 1914. The team dug their way into Mossyn's cabin from a century ago.

TURNEY: Take the right and it remains living and cooking area.

KAYE: But on Christmas Eve, just about 100 miles from where they started out, their adventure came to a halt, quite literally. Their ship stuck in a heap of ice, some of it as high as 13 feet. They haven't budged in days. It is a predicament that raised the curiosity of the locals here. The professor even tweeted about the penguins who have come to check out what is going on.

TURNEY: The team's spirit is fantastic. We carefully chose the people we had together. We thought we would get on well. We were not expecting such a severe test of the community spirit. Everyone kept really good morale.

KAYE: If the ice wasn't enough of a test, there was a blizzard too.

TURNEY: It is December 28th, 2013. The low pressure system sitting over our expedition vessel, the vessel hasn't moved for the last two days. We are surrounded by sea ice.

KAYE: The winds were gusting up to 45 miles per hour.

TURNEY: The ship was tilting because of the pressure of ice. We had to adjust the baluster. Even today, we still can experience just quite frightening conditions at times.

KAYE: But help is on the way.

TURNEY: That's the ice breaker coming to rescue us.


KAYE: Turney's team spotted the rescue ship from China known as the Snow Dragon in the distance, but their excitement was short lived. It got close, but not close enough. Heavy winds and thick ice are making it impossible for even the rescue ship to move, just six nautical miles away from the trapped vessel. Two other ice breaks are on the way, one French and one Australian. It may be another day at least before anyone reaches Professor Turney and the others.

TURNEY: How long it takes to extricate us? I don't know. It is like lancing a wound. You have to relieve the pressure before you get out.

KAYE: Get out and get on the way again to retracing footsteps of history. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: At least they have a bit of a sense of humor with the videos on the deck there.

FEYERICK: Absolutely. They were chosen very carefully because, you know, you have to prepare for any possibility like being trapped with people on a boat.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you know, the four Americans detained in Libya are now free. They were released just suddenly as they were detained a few hours later. The four military personnel were working security at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. They were detained by the Libyan government. The State Department is trying to determine what happened and why they were taken into custody. The U.S. and Libyan governments have been at odds over security for U.S. personnel in Libya.

FEYERICK: And in Egypt, anger and frustration boiling over. Protesters fill the streets for a second straight day. They are rallying in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Current government announced it as a terrorist group just a few days ago. The violence has been especially ugly on the campus of the Czar University in Cairo. Some 60 students there have been arrested. There are also reports that one young protester may have died.

BLACKWELL: Out of work Americans are bracing for a harsh new reality this morning. Jobless benefits for the long term unemployed, people who have not had a job in more than 26 weeks, are being cut.

FEYERICK: Those cuts may leave many wondering how they will survive and pay for food even wondering where they are going to live. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what the last six months have been like for Paul Hallasy.

PAUL HALLASY, UNEMPLOYED: I have answered over 501 ads just on one web site alone.

SERFATY: At 52, he has been out of work in educational publishing and now another blow. He is one of 1.3 million Americans losing unemployment benefits. On average, they have been getting $300 each week. His check wasn't nearly enough to cover the $1100 rent on his New York apartment. Now it will stop coming.

HALLASY: I won't be able to buy food. I won't be able to pay my bills.

SERFATY: Extended unemployment benefits beyond the usual 26 weeks were started during the Bush administration to help Americans hit by the recession. Since 2008, they have been renewed 11 times but not this time. Congress failed to pass an extension in the budget deal, teeing up a nasty fight for the New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is going to be classic messy Washington politics over an issue with the two parties just don't have united view. This is one of those issues that the right flank wants to fight on.

SERFATY: Some Republicans say it is time to end the program all together. They argue it's too expensive. A year's extension costs $25 billion. People have gotten dependent and they say the economy is strong enough now without them.

CHRIS EDWARDS, CATO INSTITUTE: When you extend benefits to 73 weeks or 99 weeks, it encourages some people to stay unemployed too long and that makes it increasingly hard for them to get back into the work force.

SERFATY: Democrats say benefit checks get spent right away. Spending that is necessary to boost of the economic recovery.

CHRISTINE OWENS, NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT: This is what these people need in order just to get by. It is what the economy needs in order to keep its momentum. Removing this bare minimum safety net beyond just being cruel not productive in terms of getting them back in the labor force or getting them a job.

SERFATY: But the political blame game doesn't help Paul Hallasy's new reality.

HALLASY: It's extremely stressful. I mean, I have gotten physically sick. I haven't been able to sleep.


SERFATY: From his vacation in Hawaii, President Obama has started rallying senators. He is calling them personally to get their support for the three-month extension of the benefits. In January, the Congress will take up the issue again, but a resolution, Victor, if there is one, could still be weeks away. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: A lot of work still to do. Sunlen Serfaty for us in Washington, thank you.

FEYERICK: Well, the north and northeast will be coming back online after bad weather knocked out power to tens of thousands of people. Michigan is the worse off with more than 46,000 people without power. Parts of Canada have been powerless since the beginning of the week, 43,000 still in the dark. Meanwhile, most of those who lost electricity in Maine and Vermont are getting it back on slowly.

BLACKWELL: And here's a problem. Those without power are in the coldest part of the country right now.

FEYERICK: Yes, Meteorologist Alexandra Steele joins us. Tough situation. How cold is it for those folks?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is cold and getting colder, looking at those pictures, the snow pack, certainly making it even colder still. Look at Marquette to Detroit as we go through the next couple of days. Temperatures drop 20 degrees. Marquette on Monday, a high of only 4. The expectation is not to have everyone up and running until the beginning at least of next week so certainly some dangerous scenarios there.

All right, let's show you what's happening right now. Another weekend storm, we have got another one. It is driving here in the southeast getting moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. By the time we head toward tonight, Atlanta, flood watch for you, 1.5 to 2.5 inches of rain. Hot on the heels of a rainy year. It could go down as one of the rainiest in Georgia so far.

And then as we head towards Sunday, here comes the rain in Washington, New York and Boston by Sunday night, but it is just not colliding with the coldest of air masses. It is a day behind. So the moisture comes in, but it just will be rain for Hartford and New Haven, New York and Boston. It will be snow though here for Northern New England including the green and white mountains. You will see some snow out of this thing. For the most part, the big cities will not. The cold weather coming in, you can see temperatures had been warm. Watch the cold air mass. By tomorrow, Burlington still above average, the big snows for Vermont, but as we head toward Monday, look at these temperatures, Minneapolis dropping 21 degrees, Chicago, too.

It continues to drop south and drop east. The cold air is coming. Snow accumulation, we will see a bit. You can see confined to Northern New England, maybe off the lakes, 1 to 2 inches. The big picture is quiet. You are watching from the west or Deep South and southwest. Here comes the rain for today, up the coast and for tomorrow, the rain in the mid-Atlantic and getting into the northeast.

FEYERICK: All right, Alexandra Steele, thank you so much. A lot to watch out for there.

BLACKWELL: Still to come on NEW DAY, keeping your money safe. We have tips and tricks to keep your credit cards secure even if you were not a victim of that Target hacker scheme.

FEYERICK: That's right. Advice from a fraud specialist and you are not going to want to miss that.


BLACKWELL: Check out this surveillance video, thieves back a van through a glass wall and into an Atlanta DMV. What were they after, two ATMs that were not bolted to the floor. Three suspects loaded the ATMs into the second stolen vehicle in about 3 minutes.

FEYERICK: They want a new driver's license at the DMV, they will not get that. In the modern era, not all thefts are that obvious. Target is now confirming holiday shoppers worst nightmare, debit card PINs were indeed stolen in that massive security breach that started around Black Friday.

BLACKWELL: It left millions of shoppers worried about the safety of their money. What can you do if you think your information was stolen at Target or anywhere else? Fraud specialist and attorney, Danie Stermer, joins us with some information he is with from Miami with some advice now.

Daniel, some people have already found fraudulent charges on their cards. I found one for a beverage company for about $5,000 on one of my cards. What should we do?

DANIEL STERMER, FRAUD SPECIALIST: The first thing you should do is, one, be vigilant of checking your credit card. If you see activity that you know is not yours, you should immediately contact your credit card company and ask that that card be canceled. Once you know there is something going on, you should take every precaution to stop that from happening, which would get the credit card company on the phone and stop that credit card from being used.

The question becomes, if they use small activity, will you actually notice it, particularly during the holiday season. Some folks when they get credit card numbers use small purchases in the beginning so it blends in with a normal type of use from the card holder. The question is you had a $5,000 purchase. That may not be a normal purchase. You would recognize it or today, your credit card company may recognize it and notify you about it.

Today, knowing this is happening, people need to be vigilant whether it is Target card or whatever credit card they have and checking billing statement and their activity on a daily basis.

FEYERICK: Clearly, one thing I have been amazed about is that nobody is reissued any of the cards. It is up to the individual card holders to do that. What if you do think that your card has been compromised in some way, but charges have not shown up? Is the best thing to cancel the card and ask for a new one and change the pin?

STERMER: That's the best way because once to figure out and if you have a thought and let it continue to happen, those numbers are going to start to build. Target has said they are going to protect everybody if their information was used and charges were made. If you know something happen, you should get your processor on the phone and cancel the card or as you suggested, change the pin on it.

Target yesterday announced that the pins were also compromised, but said that they believe that the pins couldn't be unlocked. They were encrypted. In today's computer-savvy world, there are programs that can attempt to unlock them. At some point, some may be compromised. In an effort to get ahead of the curve, if you were at Target between those dates, you should consider calling your company and changing your pin or cancelling your card.

BLACKWELL: Quickly, Daniel, I want to ask you about this UPS/FedEx issue. Some people got delivery confirmations, but they didn't actually get the delivery. What steps can they take?

STERMER: Well, the steps you can take is get FedEx and UPS on the phone because if you sign for your transaction, they have your image. They should provide that to you. As we know, the weather this year before the holidays was bad. The online shopping craze impacted it as well. You should also attempt to get the merchant on the phone where you bought the product from and say you have a discrepancy with UPS. Sure it may ruin somebody's holiday in getting the gift on time, but if you paid for something, you want to receive it. Get UPS, FedEx or potentially the merchant you bought it from and say there is a discrepancy.

FEYERICK: All right, Daniel Stermer, thank you so much.

STERMER: Thank you. Happy Holidays.

BLACKWELL: All beards are accounted for on "Duck Dynasty," the controversial suspension over one star's comments is now over. Was it all just a hype or a ratings ploy?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think he had the right to say it. We believe in the same morals and Christian believes that Phil believes in. We are behind him 100 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The comments were harsh. There is a way of saying things. If you don't agree with something, there is a way to word it to where you are not trying to dehumanize someone.


FEYERICK: That is the reaction of some in Louisiana to the announcement by A&E Network that they have now ended the suspension of "Duck Dynasty" star, Phil Robertson. The show is shot there in Louisiana. Here is the state's Governor Bobby Jindal's reaction. Quote, "I'm glad to hear that the folks at A&E came to their senses and recognize the tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness."

Remember Robertson was suspended from the show for making controversial remarks about the African-Americans and gays in a "GQ" interview. Joining us now is CNN senior media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. First of all, there is a lot of money coming into Louisiana because of this show, Brian.

So for the governor to say so much more important than religious freedom than it is politically correct, it is a little bit hypocritical, no.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, A&E benefits from the show. The Robertsons benefit from the show and you're right, Louisiana benefits from the show too. Underlying all of this drama, all of these arguments is the money. We had 15,000 comments on the show. I want to read the most liked comment. It says, "Big surprise. You don't kill a cash cow. They made the grand gesture. Now they can make the cash."

It says it all about A&E's decision to bring Phil Robertson back. It probably also reveals what this means to Louisiana. This is an important show and franchise for the state. That is why we saw the governor get involved right away and speak out about this. Of course, he rushed to put out a statement yesterday.

BLACKWELL: It quite possibly be no losers here. I equate this to the Chick-Fil-A controversy a year ago when the owner of Chick-Fil-A exposed that he was making financial donations to organizations that opposed gay marriage and people who never really ate at Chick-Fil-A went and bought sandwiches. This could be good for the show and network. People who never watched "Duck Dynasty" will now watch.

STELTER: Well, that is what these stories seemed do. These culture war stories, they seem to harden people's opinions. They don't change minds. They only tend to deepen people's feelings. But I do think we could be in for another round of anger and outrage now that A&E is bringing Phil Robertson back after, you know, in nine-day suspension, GLAAD, one of the gay rights group, spoke out and said what he said was wrong and A&E should do something about it.

The statement last night was pretty aggressive. It said Phil Robertson should look African-American and gay people in the eyes and hear about their hurtful impact of praising of Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps, then A&E has chosen profits over African-American and gay people, especially its employees and viewers.

So while we have people like Bobby Jindal coming out praising A&E for the decision, I think we are going to see groups like GLAAD you know, lambasting A&E for its decision and I wonder if we're in for another round of these arguments.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I think the conversation will certainly continue although a suspension that lasted nine days when you were not actually taping, does that count as a suspension?

STELTER: You will be removed from your job for a few days. It's a pretty good break from work. They were not taping at the time over the Christmas holidays. It goes to show how important he is and proves how important Phil Robertson is to the show. We know he will be part of the family comedy for seasons to come.

FEYERICK: The governor calls it tolerance of religious views. Brian Stelter.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much, anchor of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."

FEYERICK: Well, it is a cruel, disturbing and sometimes deadly new trend where strangers randomly sucker punch unsuspecting victims all with the goal of knocking them unconscious. How the Justice Department is acting on the so-called knockout game and there is a very serious charge attached.


FEYERICK: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Deborah Feyerick.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Now to five things you need to know for your "NEW DAY." Up first, bad news for people who have been out of work for a long time, 1.3 million Americans this month are expected to lose long-term jobless benefits. This is the emergency federal program that picks up when state benefits run out. The supporters say the move will motivate some folks into accepting job offers. Critics say there are not enough jobs and argue cutting benefits will drag down the economy.

FEYERICK: Number two, four Americans held by the Libyan government were released overnight. The four military personnel were there with a security detail in Tripoli. It is not known why the four were initially detained and taken into custody.

BLACKWELL: Number three, at least 26 people have been killed in a horrific train fire this morning in East India. According to a railway spokesperson, some 60 passengers were on board when flames engulfed the passenger train. The cause is still under investigation this morning. The BBC Reports that many of the dead suffocated on thick black smoke that you can see here filled the train.

FEYERICK: And number four, score one for the embattled National Security Agency -- the NSA finally getting a legal win on its surveillance program which involves collecting Americans phone and Internet metadata. A federal judge says that the NSA's collection of your communications is not only legal it is a critical weapon in fighting terrorism. Critics however say that it violates privacy rights.

BLACKWELL: Number five a family of a California girl on life support is still hoping for a miracle. On Friday, the girl's mother told CNN she wants her daughter moved to a facility although doctors have declared her brain dead. The teenager suffered complications after tonsil surgery earlier this month. Now this week a judge ruled that life support should be removed.

FEYERICK: And a Texas man is spending a holiday facing a serious felony charge.

BLACKWELL: Conrad Alvin Barrett is accused of a federal hate crime. Police say Barrett who is white, carried out what's known as a "knockout assault against an elderly African-American man." Now the victim was hit with such force, he fell to the ground.

FEYERICK: And these knockout assaults have been happening more and more lately in different states. One trouble area is Brooklyn where teens have actually been picking victims at random.

Our legal analyst Paul Callan is with us now from New York. Paul, it's so interesting this has been going on for a very long time. We've seen gangs of young men hitting people and taking them down. Now there is a shift. Now it's being labeled a hate crime. Are they going to -- maybe an assumption, are they going to be able to get him on that? Can they prove that in all those cases?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well it's -- you have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. This Texas case is a very strong case for the prosecution. And I say that because the defendant in the case actually taped himself saying that if he were to punch a black man, he would wind up on national television. Well it turns out he is quite right about it. He's probably going to be watching himself from prison on television as the case is discussed. Because I mean the case is so strong. He then bragged about it after he committed the crime and he videotaped the crime.

So you have racial hatred expressed openly, tape recorded and then you have the crime committed. So that's a slam dunk hate crime.

Other kinds of incidents that we've seen in places like New York City and other parts of the country, it's a little bit harder. You may -- many of these cases have, by the way, involved African-American youths attacking white people. But that doesn't necessarily prove a hate crime unless you can prove the motive was racial hatred as opposed to just pure thuggery (ph) -- so not so easy to prove. A lot of the cases have been brought under local laws which are very strict and some of them under local hate laws. So it's a real variety of things. This case in Texas though is a federal case. And it's the first federal "knockout" case as far as I can tell brought in America.

FEYERICK: You know we're calling it "knockout" cases, but Paul, let's call it what it is, it's "assault and battery" and it's got to stop.

BLACKWELL: Yes. That man lost several teeth and two jaw fractures. And he's still recovering.

I want to move on. Because we're short on time, Paul to talk about the decision from a judge, the National Security Agency spying program. This federal judge now says the White House endorsed program that spies on the phone records is constitutional in the war on terror. Where does this end up? Where do we get the answer finally? Will it go all the way to the Supreme Court? I guess it has to now.

CALLAN: Well not necessarily. It's going to first go to what's called the Circuit Courts of Appeals. And it only goes to the Supreme Court if the Circuit Courts of Appeals have different decision on it.

So a judge in Washington said it's illegal. Now we have this New York Federal Judge saying it's perfectly legal. If it go -- if both cases go up on appeal and the appellate courts agree it's either legal or illegal, maybe the Supreme Court won't have to decide.

I think, Victor though you're right. That ultimately this is such a big social issue that Supreme Court probably will end up weighing in. I mean this was a big important decision and a surprise because this judge in New York was totally the opposite of the Washington, D.C. judge.

FEYERICK: Which is exactly shows how a lot of people in the country are divided. What's interesting also, I read an article recently where a man who created the code basically said there is now so much metadata that the U.S. government has become dysfunctional to actually analyze it all.

All right Paul Callan, we wish you a very happy New Year. A great 2014, I know we'll be seeing see you a lot especially in New York.

CALLAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you Paul.

CALLAN: Happy new year to you as well. Yes thank you.

BLACKWELL: And still ahead, Colorado's new cash crop. Marijuana, business is getting ready to sell. Law abiding smokers, get ready to buy. We'll look at the countdown to this national milestone.

FEYERICK: But first Christine Romans has a preview of "YOUR MONEY" coming up at 9:30. Good morning Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Janet Yellen is in charge of the Fed. Mary Barra taking the wheel at GM. Why 2014 could be -- could be the year of the woman.

Plus, are women better investors than men? We're going to take a look at that coming up at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on an all new "YOUR MONEY".


BLACKWELL: The holiday season is winding down. And that means the flu season is now gearing up. And this season promises to be a dangerous one. Federal health officials say over the past week, widespread activity has leaped from four states to ten -- the states among the hardest hit, New York, Texas, Alabama and Massachusetts. The most common strain is H1N1 which is blamed in the deaths of at least four children over the last few months. The vaccine will protect you against the strain. It was known as the swine flu -- remember that during the 2009 pandemic it swept across the globe and killed almost 300 people in the U.S.

FEYERICK: And now to Colorado where it will be legal to buy pot for recreational use in the New Year. That is as long as you're 21 years old. Not all marijuana stores are ready for business just yet. Our Ana Cabrera has the details.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The green rush here in Colorado is about to get even bigger. This week, state licenses went out to local businesses giving them the right to start selling recreational marijuana.

TONI FOX, MARIJUANA RETAILER: And money does grow on trees it's called the cannabis plant.

CABRERA: January 1st recreational pot sales will be legal and heavily regulated by both state and local authorities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we get the profit.

CABRERA: Anyone over the age of 21 will soon be able to buy marijuana; 136 medical marijuana dispensaries now have state licenses to sell it. And 178 businesses can now grow it for recreational use.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of say we're sort of like the United States Amsterdam.

CABRERA: Morgan runs Canyon Cultivation. They make marijuana edible -- drops and candy. She expects business to at least double in the New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really hope that -- that people are responsible with it hat and they don't mess it up for the rest of us.

CABRERA: But Canyon Cultivation like most companies here won't be ready just yet on January 1st. Retail outlets had major hurdles to get state approval. Fingerprint-based background checks, financial checks and fees up to $15,000. Toni Fox says she has more than $1 million invested in her medical marijuana facility 3D Cannabis Center. Her store is one of only a handful expected to be ready for business on that first day.

FOX: A year ago, I would have said I wish I hadn't done it. Now I'm very excited that I have done it. And I'm looking forward to the future.

CABRERA: A future she and the state hope will pay off that massive investment.

Ana Cabrera, CNN, Denver.


BLACKWELL: A lot of money for the state of course -- that revenue.

FEYERICK: Oh you bet.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, from Beyonce to the Biebs to the dark, dark part of Walter White. We'll look back at the top ten entertainment stories of the year. Can you guess number one?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fame, fortune and millions in prize money -- who did the best players in the world have to thank for making tennis what it is today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Billie Jean King.

BILLIE JEAN KING, TENNIS PLAYER: But we really stood together to form the WTA back in '73. And I think everyone is really proud of themselves now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Billie Jean King took center stage when the WTA reunited its past number ones in London.

SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: Billie Jean has been one of my ultimate inspirations. She has told me some many things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is so inspirational to see. And just being around Billie, you feel better after talking to her.

KING: Really the players today are living our dream.



BLACKWELL: Pop star Miley Cyrus throws another shovel full of dirt on her alter ego Hannah Montana. Look at the new video. Well, look at the parts we can show on television, at least.

FEYERICK: And just hours after leaking online, the video has the cyber universe all a-Twitter. Miley wasn't alone in making headlines this past year. CNN's Nischelle Turner counts down the top ten entertainment stories of 2013.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Bieber's bad boy behavior -- Justin Bieber hasn't left he spotlight since hitting the scene in 2009 but 2013 found the teen heartthrob making news for the wrong reasons. In fact, "The Daily Beast" declares it Bieber's year of affluenza.

JUSTIN BIEBER, SINGER: What did you say?

TURNER: From paparazzi brawls to pet monkey drama to neighborhood disturbances, Bieber struggled to stay out of trouble this year.

Kimye is born. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian continue their reign as the royal tabloid couple in 2013. Sure, West had a number one album and hit tour but nothing made as much news as his love life. The pair welcomed the birth of their daughter, North "Nori" West in June.

In the year of the selfie and in typical Kardashian fashion, Kim took to social media to unveil her post baby body. West then rented out AT&T Park in San Francisco to surprise Kardashian with a marriage proposal.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: We have been following this breaking news. Actor Paul Walker has died.

TURNER: A fast and furious death. Fans' hearts broke after Paul Walker's unexpected passing over Thanksgiving weekend. The 40-year- old actor was killed in a car crash outside Los Angeles. Fans and famous friends came out to show their support for the box office powerhouse who also found success in films such as "Eight Below" and "Flags of Our Fathers".

Beyonce's return to the stage -- the singer caused waves lip syncing the National Anthem at the presidential inauguration in January only to prove her star power in a show stopping Super Bowl half time show. Beyonce spent most of the year touring the world with her "Mrs. Carter Show" before surprising everyone with the release of her fifth studio album. It quickly became not only the fastest selling album of her career but also in iTunes history. Queen B is ending the year at the top of her game.

Basic cable ruled TV. "The Walking Dead" rose to record ratings, proving we're still inflicted with zombie fever. The critically acclaimed "Breaking Bad" concluded its five season run and nearly blew up social media in the process.

And "Duck Dynasty" revealed reality TV is still guiding the conversation. Star, Phil Robertson's recent anti-gay comments stirred controversy. But basic cable shows still kept people buzzing.

From Oscar gold to box office magic, Jennifer Lawrence received the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in "Silver Lining's Playbook" and won us over while falling on the stage to collect the award. It wasn't long before Lawrence found herself at the top of the box office with the release of the "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire". Hollywood's latest "It" girl ranked only behind Angelina Jolie on Forbes list of Hollywood's highest-paid actress. Now Lawrence is already receiving award buzz for her scene-stealing performance in "American Hustle".

Angelina's brave choice: Angelina Jolie shocked everyone with her "New York Times" op-ed, revealing she underwent a double mastectomy. The Oscar winner and mother of six underwent the preventative procedure after learning she carries a gene mutation that increases her risk of developing cancer. The announcement inspired other women to consider the procedure as an option.

Paula Deen's downfall: a year ago, the celebrity chef was on top of the word. That all came crashing down after the release of a deposition in a lawsuit by a former employee. In the deposition, Deen admitted using the "n" word in the past. Fans turned their backs on the southern star, as did many of her endorsement deals. Deen went on to apologize, but it's yet to be seen if she can reclaim her throne.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: HBO is confirming that actor James Gandolfini has died.

TURNER: James Gandolfini's unexpected passing sent shockwaves through Hollywood. The "Sopranos" actor died of a heart attack at the age of 51 while on vacation in Italy. The Emmy Winner's final film, the romantic comedy "Enough Said" opened after his death to critical acclaim and earned Gandolfini his final SAG award nomination.

Miley Cyrus got everybody talking with her onstage antics. Cyrus made news with her controversial performance at the MTV VMAs, the former Hannah Montana star proved her teen persona was nothing but a distant memory.

Cyrus followed the performance with news of her break-up with long- time fiance, Liam Hemsworth. Her first number one hit was "Wrecking Ball" hit album "Bangers" and the celebration of her 21st birthday. It's Miley's world and we're just living in it.


BLACKWELL: Ok. A big year in news also means a big year on Twitter. Here's a look at the most tweeted news events in 2013. Number one, can you guess it? The Boston Marathon that drew 27 million tweets. You know, the bombing and the recovery of Boston Strong. So many people created that hash tag.

Game seven of the NBA finals between with the Miami Heat and the Spurs -- that was 26.7, close second. And in third place, the outage at the Super Bowl -- I tweeted a couple of times about that myself. That combined with Beyonce's performance drew 24 million tweets. 18 million tweets were sent after MTV's Video Music Awards thanks to number one on the entertainment list, Miley Cyrus. And rounding out the top five, the announcement of the new pontiff, Pope Francis -- that garnered more than 130,000 tweets per minute.

FEYERICK: Yes, he had help. I'm kidding -- direct line. BLACKWELL: Yes.

FEYERICK: Well, what do you think was the biggest news story of 2013? We want to hear from you. Voting is underway right now at There you'll see a list of 20 stories; we want you to choose your top 10. Then on December 30th and that is coming up fast, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern online and on TV, we're going to reveal the top ten stories of 2013 as voted on by you, our viewers. That is

BLACKWELL: Still to come there is nothing worse than getting out of a cab only to realize you left something. That's what happened to one very unlucky passenger in Las Vegas this week. But you have to hear what he left behind and why the cab driver is being applauded.


BLACKWELL: Christmas feasts are not over, well, for the goats. A farm in Colorado is asking people for their leftover trees. Why? The couple that runs the farm says the trees are a great form of roughage for the goats because they have four stomachs. I didn't know that. Apparently they are fast eaters.

According to the couple, the goats completely devour the trees in less than an hour. Ok. Goats have four stomachs.

FEYERICK: And they like (inaudible).

BLACKWELL: The things you learn on this show.

All right time for the good stuff. This one doesn't start out too good but stay with us because it gets better.

FEYERICK: That's right.

A soldier returning from Afghanistan has been ordered Christmas gifts for his family for months in anticipation of the big day.

BLACKWELL: Corporal Chris Petrossian (ph) arrived home after a 17- month tour of duty and found that thieves broke in and stole all of it.


CORPORAL CHRIS PETROSSIAN: They actually took our forks and our knives and just kind of pried into it. I did most of my Christmas shopping online because I don't have much time when I come home. It was all sitting here on the desk and they just ripped open all the packages and kind of helped themselves to whatever they want which was everything.


FEYERICK: Ok. Shocking and clearly that's not the good stuff. We're getting to that. What happens next -- well that is something to think about. The responding officer, a Gulf War vet himself -- he told his fellow officers, word spread and so they started raising money. By the time they were through, nearly all of the gifts were restored.


PETROSSIAN: I've lived here a long time and like I said absolute strangers -- complete strangers have come together. Our Lodi Adopt-A- Child gave us a whole bag of toys for her.


BLACKWELL: Wow. So the gifts were replaced and Christmas was saved for a soldier who certainly deserves it. That is the good stuff.

FEYERICK: Well, a Las Vegas cab driver faced with big temptation -- well, he decides that he's going to do the right thing. When a passenger left behind a brown bag, the driver, Gerardo Gamboa, decided to go back to the hotel where he just dropped of a passenger and return the bag.

The driver thought that it was filled with chocolate. But when Gamboa got to the hotel, he looked inside the bag and found something sweeter than chocolate. He found $300,000 in cash.

It turns out that the passenger was actually a professional poker player. Gamboa handed over the money and to say thank you, the poker player paid Gamboa $10,000. Well done.

BLACKWELL: Pretty good there.

Thanks for starting your morning with us.

FEYERICK: We've got a lot more ahead on our next hour of NEW DAY SATURDAY and that starts for you right now.